Singapore has to work together for sustainable future: Masagos Zulkifli

Speaking at a symposium on Thursday (Jan 7), Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli says the nation cannot depend on just one person, or a group of people to do their part in building a more sustainable future.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 7 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans must stop waiting for the Government to act when it comes to building a more sustainable future, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said at a symposium on Thursday evening (Jan 7).

He said the nation cannot depend on just one person, or just a group of people to do their part.

“Our challenge is to turn this movement into a culture. So it's not just a movement of some people or a group of people with common intentions but it's a culture of what it means to be a Singaporean. And I think this is what we all should inspire or aspire to be,” Mr Masagos said.

“I believe in this saying: The Government is what we do together. It's not what the Government does. It's what we do together,” he said.

About 300 guests attended the symposium at Gardens By The Bay. It kicked off a series of dialogues on building cleaner, greener and smarter homes, which will take place throughout January.

The dialogues are hosted by the Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Communications and Information. This is part of the SGFuture dialogue series which was launched last December, to engage and gather ideas from Singaporeans on what they would like to see in the future, and how they can make that vision come to life.

These engagement sessions, which begin on Saturday, aim to gather ideas on how Singaporeans can play a bigger role in creating a more liveable and sustainable future, and inspire them to take action.

They cover four main topics: City in a Garden; Vibrant Community Spaces; Eco-Smart Towns and Gracious Living; as well as A Green and Conserving Culture.

"We look forward to hear the ideas in how we can move towards becoming a zero-waste nation, and redefine waste as a valuable resource for our society; to inspire and gather more to have a greater shared responsibility in keeping Singapore clean; to adopt a long-term perspective in caring for our clean and green environment; and to ingrain a culture to improve resource efficiency and conserve water," added Mr Masagos.

The ministries hosting these sessions will also try to support the ideas that come up in the dialogue.

"Think about concrete action that you can be involved in. Today's symposium is really meant to kick-start a series of conversations, but it should not be just talk. We really want you to get involved, if you've got good ideas, share (them); better yet, do something about it, and let us know and we in MND or MEWR can support you. We will do our best to support you and work with you to translate your ideas into actions,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

- CNA/dl

Have a say in tackling green challenges
Adrian Lim, Straits Times AsiaOne 9 Jan 16;

While Singapore has grown into a sterling city in a garden in 50 years, the next phase will be fraught with more acute challenges, driven by increasing land constraints that could mean trade-offs between commercial, residential and green spaces.

Climate change will also result in rising sea levels, more intense rainfall and warmer weather, and globally, there will be more pressure on resources such as food and raw materials.

But Singaporeans will have a say in how these challenges will be met, and the future they envision, through a month-long series of engagement sessions titled "A Cleaner, Greener and Smarter Home" launched yesterday.

The discussions will be based on four main themes: City in a Garden, Vibrant Community Spaces, Eco-smart Towns and Gracious Living, and A Green and Conserving Culture.

It will delve into topics, including how to cut down on food and electronic waste; how homes can be built to be more environmentally friendly; ways in which the community can maintain the island's greenery; or how technology can be used to improve the daily commute.

They are part of the larger SGfuture discussions that started in November and are expected to run till the middle of this year. Last month, the focus was on building a caring community.

To kick-start this round of dialogues, a symposium was held yesterday at Gardens by the Bay, involving some 300 participants, and attended by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

In a call to action, Mr Wong said the sessions "should not just be talk only", but those with good ideas should come forward.

The Government will work with individuals to "translate your ideas into actions", he added.

Ms Masagos gave the example of Mr Tan Ken Jin as an individual who made a difference. Mr Tan started the Singapore Glove Project, where people meet to pick up litter during their jogs and runs.

"The one-man movement has grown to more than 500 members... Our challenge is to turn the movement into a culture," he said.

During yesterday's symposium, participants raised several suggestions, including an open gardens concept, where the gardens of private homes or estates could be open to the public on a regular basis.

One participant also asked whether urban areas could be re-designed to make them more walkable, like in Western cities.

There will be 17 engagement sessions this month, and one next month. While the dialogues will be held at the Marketplace, near The Future of Us exhibition, there will also be site visits to the rail corridor, HortPark and the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Members of the public who would like to attend any of the dialogues can sign up at